When I began this blog, there were many things and players I thought would be great topics. I u thought I would’ve written so much about Dario Alvarez. In that vain, here’s yet another post.
With the earlier bullpen problems, the Mets called up Alvarez. He was on the roster from August 21st until August 23rd when he was sent down to make room for David Wright on the roster. The Mets kept up Logan Verrett, who wouldn’t be available for another three days.
In that time, Alvarez made no appearances. Even Akeel Morris was allowed to make an appearance the one day he was up. Last night, Terry Collins let Eric O’Flaherty pitch to a right thereby costing the Mets the game. Alvarez didn’t even get warmed up. I’d say it’s personal, but to his credit Collins seems bigger than that.
Overall, with the LOOGY situation unresolved, I can’t believe the Mets keep going to the same failed options. If you’re not going to give Alvarez a chance to be a solution to a major problem, send him back down and stop wasting his service time.
Honestly, the next time I write about Alvarez, I want a one sentence blurb in a game recap. Any more than that, and I’m wasting my time while the Mets are wasting his time.
Where to begin on a day like today? There’s Michael Cuddyer and his new wrist injury of unknown origins. There’s Lucas Duda‘s rehab assignment in Binghamton. There’s Daniel Murphy‘s platelet rich therapy treatment for his injured quad. And, oh yeah, there was something about Matt Harvey.
There was a lot of noise, but this team is resilient. Jacob deGrom didn’t have his best stuff, and he was squeezed by the umpire. However, he made it through six with only three earned and was in line for the win due to a Yoenis Cespedes go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh.
Sean Gilmartin and Addison Reed gave up the lead in the seventh. The go-ahead run was scored after Reed got squeezed on a 2-2 pitch and his 3-2 pitch wasn’t even close resulting in a bases loaded walk. They were picked up by Travis d’Arnaud, who sparked a two out rally in the ninth. Juan Lagares pinch ran for him and scored after consecutive singles from Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. We all talk about the Cespedes trade, but we all neglect the trade that brought Uribe and Johnson aboard that really started to turn things around.
The one thing the Mets couldn’t overcome? Terry Collins. After having a decent game managing, he had to put Eric O’Flaherty in a position to fail again. O’Flaherty came in with an inherited runner and one out from Erik Goeddel‘s second inning of work. O’Flaherty got the lefty, and then for some reason Collins let him face Martin Prado.
Of course, Prado hits a double down the right field line. Of course, it’s Lagares and not Cespedes on right. If Cespedes can’t play right, he’s not the player we all think he is. Sure enough, the run scores and the Mets lose in 11. With the Nationals win, the Mets lead drops to five.
Again, the Mets get burned by Collins managing. If he can’t handle August and September, why do we think he can handle October? Of all the nonsense today, this was the most aggravating.
As we know, Lucas Duda‘s back injury has been lingering. There was an abbreviated comeback that ended with Duda needing to finally go on the DL. When he was eligible to come off the DL, he didn’t. Only recently, he was just tracking balls in batting practice.
Now, the Mets have announced that Duda will begin his rehab assignment in Binghampton. Their season ends on Monday (postseason notwithstanding). How Duda goes from unable to play to unable to take BP to full rehab games is beyond me. Backs are fickle things. As we saw with David Wright, it takes time to heal to get into playing shape.
I hope the Mets aren’t rushing Duda back from this injury. I hope this isn’t an overreaction to Daniel Murphy‘s quad injury. One wrong twist or pull and Duda might be done for the season. Murphy might be that close as well.
This is the type of injury that lingers and gets worse if you push it. Murphy injured the same quad in June requiring a stay on the DL. There’s nothing to suggest the two injuries are related unless you are suggesting that Murphy is prone to minor leg injuries.
As of right now, the Mets have a six game lead. They’re playing a terrible Marlins team. They have a viable first base option with Michael Cuddyer, who has been hitting .327/.383./.509 over the past four weeks. At second, they’ve been playing Kelly Johnson against RHP. Once he returns from Venezuela, Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] can play second.
If Flores isn’t ready to play Saturday or Sunday, Terry Collins has shown the willingness to play Juan Uribe there. If Collins wants to give David Wright a day off before a big Nationals series coming up, and Flores still isn’t ready to play, Collins can send Uribe and Eric Campbell out there. If the Mets become desperate, there’s always the possibility of a Dilson Herrera promotion.
Whatever the scenario, the Mets need to keep Murphy, his bat, and his versatility healthy for October. We don’t know if Duda is coming back. Let’s not thrust Murphy’s availability into question over a relatively meaningless series against the Marlins.
If you keep playing with fire, you’re eventually going to get burned. Terry Collins’ poor managing has been masked by a seven game winning streak that came off the two worst teams in baseball. The fifth worst team in baseball would capitalize on Collins’ mistakes.
Tonight, the Mets got a dominant start from Matt Harvey. He only allowed two hits over six innings with eight strikeouts. Lucky for the Mets, the extra rest didn’t have a negative impact on Harvey. I don’t know if it was the rest or the last place Red Sox lineup. Either way, Harvey was Harvey.
Unfortunately for the Mets Terry Collins was Terry Collins. He put Juan Lagares and his .290 OBP in the leadoff spot. He was followed by Curtis Granderson and his .220 OBP against LHP. They combine to go 0-8 with two walks. The Mets would only score two runs against Henry Owens and his 4.50 ERA.
Then he brought in Logan Verrett to pitch in a second straight game. He’s never done that before, so Collins decided it was best to do it with a two game lead. However, yesterday with Verrett fully stretched out, he wouldn’t let Verrett go multiple innings. I don’t get it.
Verrett would give the lead away. His stuff looked flat, and the Red Sox teed off of him to the tune of three runs. The first run was a homer juiced by David Ortiz. The next two runs came off a homer by Jackie Bradley, Jr.
The Mets would rally off the Red Sox bullpen. It’s what they have been doing. They’ve been feasting off bad pitching to beat bad teams. The Mets loaded the bases and tied the score at three a piece on a two out bases loaded walk to Travis d’Arnaud. Rather than pinch hit Daniel Murphy, Collins let human rally killer Ruben Tejada bat. Unsurprisingly, the man who is hitting .227 in August popped out to end the rally.
The Mets two big guns out of the bullpen, Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia shut the door in the eighth and ninth. They kept the game tied. It didn’t matter. Because of the mismanaged tired bullpen, Carlos Torres had to come in.
He gave up a home run to the first batter he saw, Blake Swihart hit an inside the park homerun. Or did he? On a ball Lagares makes a play on last year, he went to play it off the wall. After it came off the wall, he never went to play it. Tejada and Granderson would go after it. Yoenis Cespedes never flinched in LF. By the time Tejada reached the ball, it was obvious Swihart was going to score.
Initially, I was irate with Lagares. How could he not go after it? Replays showed the ball went over the orange line in CF. It was going to be a HR anyway. The exhausted Torres, who pitched 2.1 innings last night, was letting up line drives left and right. I can’t blame him he was set up to fail. He was finally lifted with two outs in the tenth with the score 6-3. At least Eric O’Flaherty got a lefty out to end the inning.
The Mets rallied in the tenth. Tejada singled. Michael Conforto had a good AB and a well earned walk. Juan Uribe pinch hit for Lagares, and he walked to load the bases. Granderson walked giving the Mets their second run vis bases loaded walk on the night. Cespedes fm gave one a ride, but his flyball fell short. With that, the Mets luck finally ran out.
In other news, of course the fans gave David Wright a nice standing ovation. He went 2-4 with a run scored. I also noticed he has begun throwing the ball more side armed. I wonder if that has anything to do with the back injury.
Also, the Mets first two runs were with questionable calls by Tim Teufel’s at third base. The first time was Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] going through s stop sign. The second time was off of a fifth inning Michael Cuddyer single and a misplay by Rusney Castillo allowing Wright to score from first. Teufel sent Wright when most thought the stop sign should’ve been applied. To be honest, I haven’t noticed Teufel much at third this year, which usually means he’s been doing a good job.
The Mets missed an opportunity to go 7.5 games up on the Nationals. Overall, they missed a lot of opportunities tonight. It’s not the end of the world, but the Mets need to fix the bullpen and Collins in-game management. It’s going to burn them worse than it did tonight, whether it’s in September or October.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be the start of another long winning streak.
Lucky, I don’t need to use this blog to tell the fans they need to give Wright a standing ovation. It’s coming anyway. They’ll give him the standing ovation. Wright will be forced to give a wave or hat tip to acknowledge the fans. We see it all the time, but that doesn’t change the genuineness of the exchange of emotion.
Anyway, it feels “Wright” having him back and having him be a major contributor to the team. Keep in mind, the Mets need him to contribute. When Wright was gone, the Mets defensive option was Juan Uribe, who has hit .181/.261/.410 since joining the Mets. The other option is Daniel Murphy, which forces either Kelly Johnson (.260/.308/.437) or Wilmer Flores (.264/.294/.414) to play second base.
Needless to say, the Mets need Wright. They need him to contribute. Based upon the other options, the bar is not high. Regardless, it’s great having Wright in a pennant race again. In 2006, it seemed like his birthright. Now, with the losing and spinal stenosis, it seems like redemption.
In 2008, the Milwaukee Brewers went all-in. They traded their best prospects for CC Sabathia. They rode him hard down the stretch. They were doing everything to make the playoffs. They even fired their manager with 12 games left in the season. It might’ve been reactionary to a late losing streak. It might’ve been a response to their current manager being over his head.
Before continuing, I feel it’s important to note that Terry Collins is a good man. I also need to note, Collins should be commended for holding this team together when the season was seemingly falling apart. However, this is a different roster. There are different stakes.
The first issue is the lineup construction. Here’s last night’s lineup with their OBPs for this year and their career:
- Curtis Granderson .352/.340
- Yoenis Cespedes .328/.318
- Daniel Murphy .332/.333
- David Wright .377/.377
- Kelly Johnson .303/.330
- Travis d’Arnaud .348/.310
- Michael Conforto .360
- Ruben Tejada .331/.328
- Pitcher’s Spot
Note, I gave Johnson’s numbers against RHP because he’s being used as a platoon player. Due to the small sample size, I gave Conforto’s total OBP even though he’s a platoon player.
This lineup doesn’t make sense. You want higher OBP hitters ahead of the big bats. That’s why Cespedes should hit cleanup with Wright batting second. Wouldn’t you rather have Wright on base for one of Cespedes’ “Feats of Strength“? The answer is yes. It makes sense. Look at it this way: if Wright is going to single or double and Cespedes is going to hit a homerun, in which order would you like that to happen?
Now, I’ve heard the argument that the Mets have won seven in a row scoring a lot of runs; why change anything? My first response is that’s not a good reason. Just because the Mets scored a lot of runs doesn’t mean you couldn’t have scored more runs with a better lineup. My next response is you beat the two worst teams in the NL in their bandbox ballparks. They’re one and two in most runs allowed in the NL. OF COURSE YOU’RE GOING TO SCORE RUNS!
My other problem with Collins is the in-game strategy. He’s had some problems this season, but last night was a new low. It’s like he didn’t know you could double switch. When Logan Verrett could’ve given multiple innings with a short bullpen and no Tyler Clippard, Collins didn’t double switch him into the game. As a result, Verrett went one inning and was pinch hit for as we was due up second. This led to some more odd decisions.
With Sean Gilmartin due up third in the tenth, and Collins wanting multiple innings from him, he let Gilmartin bat even though he still had Wilmer Flores [standing ovation], Juan Uribe, and Anthony Recker on the bench. By the way, they never entered a game in which two relievers got an AB.
Then in the same inning it was so important to have Gilmartin in, Collins brought in Carlos Torres. I can’t imagine any situation in which it was alright for Gilmartin to bat and that includes his .400 batting average. The Mets won despite Collins’ terrible managing. Could you imagine if that happened in October against a much better team? The Mets probably won’t be as lucky as they were last night.
Look, Collins has done a nice job here. He was handed a thankless job, and he did a good job. In most seasons, the Mets outperformed their expectations. A few times, they were competitive to the point where we actually considered that they may make a deadline trade. Now, they have a real roster, and they may need a better manager.
The problem is who becomes the next manager. No, it’s not Wally Backman. You don’t turn to someone with no major league managerial experience now. I think the answer is Bob Geren. He has prior managerial experience, and he’s the bench coach. It would be a smoother transition.
Now, I understand if people want to keep Collins. As I’ve said, he has some positive attributes. However, if your reason is you want to keep the status quo because things are working now, I can’t agree with you. You make decisions to try to win the World Series, not seven games against bad baseball teams.
Seriously, when people are now advocating for Collins to be named the Manager of the Year, we should really be talking about if a change is necessary. When Collins can’t double switch and lets his relievers bat with good options in the bench, the time for a switch may have arrived.
The hallmark of a good team is to beat the teams they are supposed to beat. The Mets have now taken that to the extreme with their 12-1 record so far this year against the Phillies. The Mets had to overcome a lot tonight, including their manager.
It didn’t start well for the Mets. Jon Niese was getting squeezed and frustrated. Then in the third inning he imploded. He allowed five runs putting the Mets in an early hole. Before the All Star Break, you couldn’t have counted have counted on the Mets scoring five runs in a week, let alone one game.
However, the Mets now have a more completed. It showed as they overcame the five run deficit. In a month where the Mets have hit more homeruns in any other month in their history, the Mets used the long ball to get back in the game. In the fourth, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two run homer. In the fifth, Yoenis Cespedes showed off his “Feats of Strength” with a two run homer. Finally, Kelly Johnson tied the game with a solo homerun in the fifth. It should be noted none of these three players were on the 25 man roster during the extreme offensive struggles in July.
Both Niese and Aaron Harang would go six making it a battle of the bullpens. It was nice seeing Logan Verrett in the bullpen. However, I didn’t like how he was wasted. Terry Collins should’ve made a double switch with Verrett due up second. It made sense because Verrett can go multiple innings, especially with a short bullpen.
Instead, Verrett only went one inning. This set up an inning where the Phillies got a chance to get a measure of revenge against Hansel Robles. They failed. Jeff Francoeur was robbed of an extra base hit on a diving stop by David Wright, who was good in the field today. Darin Ruf struck out again. Otherwise, Robles navigated around a one out double to get out of the inning.
Then in the ninth, Terry Collins went with Sean Gilmartin over Jeurys Familia. If Collins felt it was the right move because he needed a reliever to throw multiple innings, then he should’ve double switched when Verrett was in the game. Forget that: he should’ve double switched when Gilmartin came in the game because he was due up third in the tenth. If he was waiting for the save situation, it’s no excuse. You don’t risk losing a game without bringing in your best reliever.
I think the answer might’ve been Collins wanted multiple innings from Gilmartin because HE LET GILMARTIN HIT FOR HIMSELF! That’s inexcusable. The double switch is National League Managing 101.
Torres was brilliant. He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, and he got the game winning rally started in the 13th. After he reached, Curtis Granderson singled in a tough AB. With one out Daniel Murphy came up in the same situation he did in the 11th. This time instead of hitting into a rally killing double play, he would hit a two RBI double down the left field line.
Murphy moved to third on the throw, and he scored when Wright reached on an error. Wright would score on a Michael Conforto RBI single. The rally was ended by Ruben Tejada, who, somehow, was the only Met not to get a hit in this series played in this bandbox. Familia came in to close out the game with the final score of 9-5. Its funny seeing Torres bat for himself in the 13th, but not pitch in the inning. It’s a good thing Collins saved him for the save situation that never arose.
It was a good win even if it was poorly managed. Again, Collins is making me nervous. I’ll enjoy the win even if I didn’t enjoy Collins’ very suspect managing.
Somewhere in my house, I have a “Mojo Rising” t-shirt featuring the greatest infield ever. It became the anthem of the 1999 season. After Kenny Rogers forgot how to throw a strike, there was no more “Mojo Risin.” I also stopped wearing the t-shirt.
The following season seemingly every team adapted “Who Let the Dogs Out?” as their rally cry. I don’t know that I ever got that song out of my head. I knew something bad was going to happen when the Baha Men performed before Game Four of the 2000 World Series. My fears were realized when I watched David Cone struck out Mike Piazza. Luckily, after the 2000 World Series went away, so did the Baha Men.
Speaking of the 2000 World Series, N’Sync performed the National Anthem at Game Three of the World Series. It was the wrong boy band. Clearly, this wrong choice set forth a catastrophic chain of events which led to the Yankees winning the World Series. That’s right. I’m blaming N’Sync.
It seems Juan Uribe wants to right that wrong. He started blasting and dancing to the Backstreet Boy in the locker room. This is one of the reasons why Uribe is such a great addition. He keeps things loose in the clubhouse, and he keeps things fun. We all laughed when we saw it. It was fun. I can see this Backstreet Boys being a thing.
Why not? The dumbest things become a thing during a time when your team is winning. Earlier this year, it was the Citi Field raccoon:
These things take on a life of its own. Personally, I like the Backstreet Boys meme. First, it doesn’t seem as forced as the other ones. Second, it’s fun, and the Mets can have fun with it by blasting it on the loudspeakers. I think we should petition Uribe and the other Mets to use the Backstreet Boys for their walk-up music. It’s as organic as Robin Ventura playing “L.A. Woman” in the clubhouse leading to “Mojo Risin” t-shirts. Finally, the Backstreet Boys are there at the promised land:
Let’s let the Backstreet Boys lead us to heaven. They already seem to know the way. Lets Go Mets!
Everyone can talk about the home-road splits with Noah Syndergaard. However, if you think of yourself as a future ace, you don’t have games like Thor had tonight.
He was handed a 3-0 lead by another “Feat of Strength” by Yoenis Cespedes and Thor’s own RBI single. He gave it back and couldn’t make it past the fifth inning. This was important because the Mets have a really short bullpen. Normally, you’d ask your starter to get some extra innings with a short bullpen. The smarts couldn’t do that because of the phantom innings limit issue.
What we have instead was another day with a Mets reliever going multiple innings. Today, it was Hansel Robles‘ turn (more on him later). He pitched well only allowing one of the inherited runners from Eric O’Flaherty to score. I’m assuming the Mets will not have him and Sean Gilmartin available. Plus Logan Verrett will only be available for one inning. This is not the situation you want to be in with Bartolo Colon on the mound tomorrow, reagardless of his health.
Thor was bailed out in the top of the sixth when Travis d’Arnaud, who was inexplicably batting eighth, received an RBI from a bases loaded walk to tie the game. Michael Cuddyer then pinch hit for Thor and hit a two run single to put the Mets up 6-4. This is the latest example showing Cuddyer may still have something to contribute.
Tyler Clippard had a rough eighth inning. He left 1st and 2nd with two outs for Jeurys Familia, who came on for the four out save. He induced a groundballs to David Wright to get out of the jam unscathed. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 6-5 win. Now with Familia going four outs for a save, we now have to question his availability for tomorrow.
Back to Robles. What he did was bush league. It was bush league not because he quick pitched. It was bush league because Cody Asche‘s head was down when he threw the ball. The Phillies dugout was rightfully upset. Normally, I’d argue that Jeff Francoeur should’ve been ejected, but he was protecting his teammate. The dugouts emptied, but neither team really crossed the lines.
My overall issue is with the home plate umpire. You either instruct the batter to get in the box or have your hands up the whole time to let Robles know he can’t throw a pitch. The umpire needs to be aware Robles likes to quick pitch, and he needs to umpire the game accordingly.
It should also be noted that Wright’s second game back wasn’t as successful as his first. He didn’t look as good at the plate. He swung at a lot of balls off the plate and out of the strike zone. Overall, he went 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. On the bright side, he was better in the field. Regardless, like last night, this was just one game, and I still have faith in him.
Ironically, despite the predicament Thor left the Mets in, he notched his first career road win. The Mets have problems to deal with tomorrow with an even shorter bullpen and no Wright tomorrow. At least they took care of business tonight and still lead the divisio by 5.5 games. Let’s enjoy tonight and worry about tomorrow.